"FORBIDDEN BROADWAY" is the musical show that tells you the difference between Chita Rivera and Rita Moreno. At the Shoreham's posh (and pricey) Marquee Lounge for an indefinite run, this always singing, sometimes stinging satire of Broadway musicals is also a fizzy, funny capsule commentary on the State of the Stage.
The brainchild of lyricist Gerard Alessandrini, the long-running (four years off-off-Broadway) revue thumbs its nose at Broadway stars and standards, which get "revamped, degraded, berated and camped" as the show tweaks recent tuners like "Dreamgirls" and eternal sitting ducks like "Hello, Dolly!"
Alessandrini's clever spoofs, which assume a surface familiarity with recent Broadway history, are sassy and sometimes sophomoric, but they can also sum someone up in a neat little number, like the distillation of Liza Minelli's whole schtick in one shamelessly overwrought song.
The revue is performed by the appealing, energetic quartet of Janet Aldrich, Suzanne Blakeslee, Jerry Christakos and William Selby, all of whom make a good case for multiple personalities. They're all good, but the standout is Janet Aldrich, who nails Patti Lupone's Evita; ressurrects Merman, who bellows and elbows sweet Mary Martin; and wails an enormously funny Jennifer Holliday in "Screamgirls."
Even pianist Mark Mitchell gets in a dig, at the insufferable audition hopefuls who always blame the piano player. (He sings "I'm Sick of Playing Their Songs".)
With musical malice like this, may "Forbidden Broadway" run as long as "Banjo Dancing."